The long wait is over and Windows 10 has finally been released. The question on everyone's mind is whether or not to upgrade. This is a highly unusual operating system release by Microsoft standards. Previous operating system upgrades were sold to the end users. This time, Microsoft is actually giving it away free (for a limited time). People can choose to perform the upgrade as they wish. That said, we would recommend a go-slow approach (for various reasons). We will elaborate here, but first a history lesson.
More information has been trickling out regarding the massive Target PCI breach that took place during the 2013 Christmas shopping season. Forensic researchers first learned that hackers penetrated Target's network by means of a business transaction portal. It appears that Fazio Mechanical Services was the source. Fazio is a Pittsburgh-area nationwide mechanical contractor that services many large retailers. Now more details are emerging about the mechanism hackers used to infect the HVAC contractor. There are serious lessons here that businesses of all sizes need to learn. It's safe to say the face of PCI compliance will forever be changed as a result of the findings.
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The "CryptoLocker" virus has been making a great deal of noise lately. Though we at Thom Infotech have not personally encountered it, we know others who have. We've written this post to help you to understand and defend against the CryptoLocker virus.
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As of this writing there are roughly four useble business weeks left in the current year. As 2013 winds down, businesses should consider performing needed upgrades sooner rather than later. At the risk of creating a lengthy blog post I'm planning to provide 179 reasons to upgrade before January 2014.
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There is welcome news for web developers this week as WordPress now offers automatic updates to the uber-popular web development platform. Starting out as a blogging tool, WordPress has morphed into a full website development ecosystem. Like many, this author has embraced WordPress due to its simplicity, flexibility, and easy search engine optimization.
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Reports of HIPAA breach incidents are nothing new. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) stipulates that healthcare providers, insurance companies, and those who serve them (also known as "Business Associates") take extensive measures to protect the Protected Health Information (PHI) of their patients. Even the dearly departed are protected from such disclosures. For this reason, the United Stated Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires that providers report data breaches that reach a certain threshold. Though disturbing, this is nothing new.
It's the second Tuesday of the month, so that means it's Patch Tuesday. Microsoft will begin rolling out patches as the day progresses. This means your computer will likely reboot overnight. Here's a rundown of the patches you can expect.
It has been said that the most difficult interface to secure is the one between the chair and the keyboard. This bit of "nerd humor" actually has its basis in fact. Art Gross has written a very informative post titled "Your employees will cause your next HIPAA breach" concerning the most common cause of HIPAA breaches - your employees. Gross cites two recent examples where Protected Health Information (PHI) was leaked from the secured healthcare data environment by careless or poorly trained employees:
I'm sure you've seen this, and I hope you haven't fallen for it. Nevertheless, it must work because the bad guys keep doing it. The term is "Trendjacking", and it refers to spammers and malware authors using current trends to trick you into opening malicious email messages.
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I've never been a boy scout. Sometimes I wish I had been. I appreciate the fact that preparedness is such a central tenet of the organization. Any good Boy Scout (or wanna-be Boy Scout) should be prepared for a data disaster.